Leslie - posted on 10/18/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )
My brother in law is bi-polar - I think - I am not sure when or how the diagnosis came. Anyway, he has made life extremely difficult on my husband's family. Recently he had a very violent confrontation with me and my husband, where he called us names, cursed us out and then told us to stay away from him and his family -- we were not welcome at his house. Not even a month later, after no further conversation let alone an apology, we get an invitation to his son's birthday party - but from his wife, not him. We had plans so we could not attend...but we wouldn''t have attended anyway. I was basically afraid of him at this point. In the past he had done the same thing to his other sister in law, and then his own sister....drove over an hour to her house, on Christmas Eve no less, and cursed her out in front of their company AND her 2 young daughters. Her husband had to physically throw him out of the house because he would not leave when asked. Then he tried to bring assault charges against him. Which is ironic because his sister and husband would not call the police that night because he has HUGE issues with any kind of authority -- but especially the police. And it gets better.....his sister, her husband, and my husband....yeah, you guessed it....all cops.
Anyway, I always told my husband that we should try and be understanding and not abandon him because of the mental illness. He has periods where he seems okay, and we knew that there were huge domestic problems in his own house (ironically, the cops have been to his own house and their children were almost removed), so we didn't want to add any stressors. We even told him that he could come live at our house if things got too bad between him and his wife. We did everything we could not to judge and be supportive.
Well, this week he found out that his son was not invited to our son's birthday party (because why would we if we were told to stay away from his kids and out of his life?), and he put this hate filled message on MY Facebook page. Not my husband's page- his brother, who he should have contacted, but me. For all my friends and family to see. I sent him a private message to say that was not cool or appropriate, and that if he had a problem he should have contacted his brother. The decision was not mine, but my husband's to make, and believe me we agonized over it. So why was he attacking me? And why so publicly? I mean, here he was saying I was discourteous by not extending an invitation, but he didn't give us the courtesy of a phone call. He just lashed out on a public forum. Clearly, this is his pattern, he lashes out at the women in the family....and when the men stand up for us, he cries foul or slinks away. I told him that we were honoring his wishes to stay out of his life. But I also told him I would be honest with him and said that I thought he was being irrational and I was afraid that he might be dangerous. I told him to seek help because he had now alienated his entire family due to these confrontations. He responded with a message that was just absolute venom. Called me names, made all these assumptions about my life (of which he has no clue), told me I was the one with the problem and should seek professional help. Just on and on. He didn't address a single thing I had asked in my message. Then his message finished off with this rant against cops. Actually, almost every conversation with him ends this way. My husband also sent him a personal message where he just simply told him it was not acceptable that he attached me verbally and so publicly. He said he would be willing to get together and talk to him, after everyone had a chance to cool down. The brother's response was to "unfriend" both of us. Mature. And true to pattern, the male confronted him and he slinked away.
So, since I don't know ,much about this bi-polar stuff, ....should I seriously be afraid of this person? I thought these people were supposed to suffer from bouts of depression? But he seems to flip between being calm and then just absolute fits of rage. I didn't think bi-polar meant violent. He gets so angry he shakes all over. But he actually almost started crying when he recounted that the brother in law hurt his arm when he thew him out of the house. HE truly believes that he was the victim!!! He just doesn't see that he created the situation and that due to his rage....they were AFRAID of him and wanted him out of the house. To me he has no guilt whatsoever about the trauma he has caused, especially to the children who have witnessed his rages, he doesn't care that he hurts your feelings, you cannot talk or reason with him at all, and it is always someone else's fault......there is no acceptance of any responsibility; almost like he doesn't even have a conscience. He sees all these wrongs and persecutions of himself, but he cannot fathom why a husband would throw him out of his house after he called his wife a cunt (excuse me). Personally, I think he is some kind of anti-social personality disorder, if not an all out pyschopath. As much as I want to stand up for myself against the hateful, mean and gross things he has said, I fear that any further response from me will just result in him appearing at my door. And since my husband has just left on a long business trip, and I am here with my 3 kids.... I really don't want that.
So any advice would be great because I really don't understand this illness, or what to do. I believe in reaching out in love, healing and forgiveness, but I also need to protect my family. clearly he cannot be in our life right now, but can they improve with therapy or drugs? How have dealt with the person in your life?